Reducing CO2 output is among global goals. European Union has a plan that proposes carbon neutrality in 2050. Similar initiatives are arising in North America. One of the essential tasks in reaching carbon neutrality is sustainability. Current commercial construction is overly dependent on concrete.
The cement industry is among the top CO2 producers in the world. However, once you deploy concrete, it creates an unnatural environment that requires a lot of energy to sustain the ideal temperature in the buildings.
For years a trend in sustainable construction is gaining traction. The more innovative building can save money and be environmentally friendly in the long run. With that in mind, companies and R&D departments invented some new materials that are changing the construction business.
Recycled Materials as Building Blocks
Using recycled materials solves more than one problem. Materials like scrap metal, plastic waste, cigarette butts, and cardboard could be in new buildings with smaller carbon footprints. Recycled cardboard can become cellulose insulation, plastic bottles soft fibrous carpets.
A great example of a construction project with recyclable materials is a new casino building in Middelkerke. Along with recyclables, the building on the North Sea uses eco-wood and unique building structures. As a result, there is little need for air-conditioning or heating in their live casino lobby and other building areas.
Back to the Wood With Mass Timber
This dependence on concrete and steel construction is slowly declining to favour more organic and sustainable building materials. For example, mass Timber uses laminated and panelized solid wood, which increases the material’s properties, and the main advantage is lower carbo footprint and more natural buildings.
Cooling bricks is another innovative material. The mixture of hydrogel and classic bricks creates a new form to collect water and store it in bricks. You can release the water on warm days and cool the building. It can significantly reduce energy output from AC units and make building more livable at the same time.
One of the possible breakthroughs in construction is self-healing materials. Currently, scientists are researching and prototyping self-healing concrete. Cracks in concrete structures are common, and simultaneously, this material has some properties of self-healing. Unfortunately, the chemistry behind it requires water, and it is still hard to control the process. However, self-healing concrete could create considerable savings in the construction industry once researchers perfect the technique.
Building Material as an Air Filter
Researches work on new materials that could improve air quality in buildings. Air-cleaning bricks are among those new building blocks. The idea is to use an air filtration system and remove pollutants in the incoming air. The air-cleaning bricks are on the outside of a building with the purpose of filtering pollution in the airflow.
There are numerous other developments in the building industry, such as large-scale 3D printing or using the Cabkoma Strand Rod or thermoplastic carbon fibre. Cross-laminated timber, rammed earth, and pigmented concrete are among other materials changing the construction world.
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